Star Wars: Unexpected Consequences title image

Chapter Sixteen

Lucinda was back in the bedroom she had stayed in before. This time she hadn't unpacked her bag. Mommy would be back in a couple of days, and Luci didn't want to wait to pack when that happened. The whole quarters were much busier with people this time. Princess Leia had wanted to introduce Luci, but she had to answer a comm as soon as they reached these rooms. Lucinda had acted like she would on a base and retreated to her room to be out of the way. Being good didn't stop her from feeling small and unwanted.

The door annunciator chimed.

She couldn't think of any reason why anyone would want her, but talking was better than not finding anything worth watching on the HoloNet. She opened the door.

"Hello, Lucinda." Jedi Skywalker smiled down at her. "Can we come in?"

"Okay." She was a little confused about the 'we', but Artoo rolled in behind him and beeped hello at her. "Hello, Jedi Skywalker; hello, Artoo."

Jedi Skywalker pulled out the chair at the desk and straddled it, resting his chest against the back. Just like most of Captain Karrde's spacers would do. Luci relaxed. If it was bad news, he wouldn't sit like that.

"We survived Imperials together, so you can just call me Luke."

"No. Mommy wants me to be polite, and that means proper titles." She climbed up on the bed edge that faced the chair. "And she always knows when I haven't been."

"I don't want to get you in trouble. What about Jedi Luke?"

That was fewer syllables to say. "Okay."

"So I figured nobody has told you what is going on, and you probably have questions."

"It's not classified?"

"Don't go telling the HoloNet about it. The politicians like to write up statements for that. You're not a reporter in disguise, are you?"

Lucinda giggled at his comically suspicious face. "No."

"Didn't think so." Jedi Luke crossed his arms over the top of the chair. "Captain Karrde is selling the location of the Katana fleet to the New Republic. Han and I will have to go scout it out before Captain Karrde and the Councilors get there."

"What's the Katana fleet?"

"A task force of two hundred Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers launched by the Old Republic, but the crew picked up a hive virus that drove them insane as they got sick. The ships were all linked, so when one ship went to hyperspace, they all went to hyperspace in 955. And no one ever saw them again." He tilted his head. "Your lessons don't have any Galactic history in them?"

"Not that far back. Well, History of Naboo went that far back, but it had nothing to do with a lost fleet." Jedi Luke had that look most adults got when Naboo came up. "I was born there," Lucinda explained.

"Your mother just told me you two were there. She didn't say it was your birth planet."

Her stomach was cramping and sinking at the same time. She hated that feeling. "Mommy promised to take me back for my next birthday if she's still working for Captain Karrde. I wish she hadn't had to work now."

"Me too." He heaved a sigh. "But that's the price of being really good at what we do."

Lucinda wrinkled her nose. "How soon do you have to go?"

"As soon as we get all the stuff ready to go." He shifted and put his hand on Artoo's dome. "Do you mind keeping Artoo company while I'm gone? Threepio has duties to help Leia most hours of the day, but I'm sure he can help both of you with Binary lessons when he's done."

"I don't mind," Lucinda said as she looked at Artoo. "Do you want to stay with me?"

{Yes,} he beeped. Then he followed it by a warble she didn't know.

"He says your history lessons have gotten up to the Clone Wars and he can help with those." Jedi Luke patted the droid and withdrew his hand. "It makes sense to learn your birth planet's history first. Tatooine didn't have much history for us to learn, so we moved onto Galactic pretty quickly."

She blinked. "But you made history?"

"I had lessons and classes before I left Tatooine. And more after."

"It never ends." She groaned.

He grinned behind his hand like she couldn't see that. But the door slid open before she could say anything about him laughing at her. Captain Solo stopped at the end of the closet. He was smooth-shaven now, but he looked tired and tried to not look grumpy when he saw them. "The food's here, Kid."

Lucinda frowned. Nobody called her kid. But Jedi Luke stood up. "Good, I'm starving. You didn't get a chance to meet Lucinda on Myrkr, did you?"

"Nah, sure didn't. Han Solo, little Jade." He held out his hand.

She shook it. "Lucinda Padmé Jade." She wasn't sure if she should stay in her rooms while the grown-ups had a meal meeting, but Jedi Luke took her hand and guided her along with him and Han through the hallway back to the dining room set across from the kitchen. It was his right hand, she realized, and nothing seemed wrong with it now.

"I'm volunteering, Leia, before I get dragooned into helping regardless." Lucinda thought the voice sounded familiar, but the speaker was a well-dressed man with dark skin who she didn't recognize when they reached the dining room table. "Besides," he continued, "you need someone around with some experiencing finding the unfindable."

"We've all heard the Mindharp story." Captain Solo said as he headed around the table, avoiding the side where Doncella Retrac and Threepio was putting food dishes onto the table. "You don't have to go over it again." He stopped at the chair Princess Leia sat in and kissed her cheek quickly.

Lucinda didn't know the Mindharp story, but this seemed like one of those times to keep alert.

The stranger stayed at the head of the table on the other side of Doncella Retrac. He shook his head. "You never did appreciate history."

"Luke's the scholar around here." Captain Solo waved at them as he sat down at the head of the table. "And we should probably not talk classified business around the supper table."

The stranger blinked down at Lucinda as Doncella Retrac sat down. "Oh hello, Lando Calrissian." He held out his hand.

"Lucinda Padmé Jade," she shook his hand. Nobody back at the base was going to believe that she had supper with all the heroes of the Battle of Endor. They should have helped Mommy rescue Captain Karrde.

"Oh, Mara Jade's child," General Calrissian said. "You look a lot like your mother."

"Yes, sir." He wasn't the first to make that comment. It was hard to miss their matching red-gold hair.

Jedi Luke helped her into the chair next to Doncella Retrac. "I told Lucinda about the Katana fleet."

"Luke." Princess Leia said it just like Mommy would if Lucinda had done something mildly wrong.

"She needs to know why we're leaving." He said as he rounded the table to sit between his sister and Chewbacca the Wookiee. "She won't spill it."

She was being trusted with something classified. Maybe if she did a good job with this one, Jedi Luke would tell Mommy could trust Luci with more. She held her head high. "I can keep a secret."

"Of course you can." Captain Solo helped a spoonful of mashed purple tubers onto the Princess' plate and then his own. "But it still puts you in danger from Delta Source." He passed the bowl of tubers to General Calrissian.

"Delta Source?" Doncella Retrac took the bowl from General Calrissian and put some tubers on Luci's plate and her own. Oh good, Luci liked those mashed.

"That's what the Imperials are calling the oh so accurate leak from here according to Garm Bel Iblis." General Calrissian added a spoonful of wilted greens to his plate.

The unfamiliar name startled the Princess as her brown eyes widened and she glanced at both General Calrissian and her husband. "Garm is still alive? That's who you found on New Cov?"

"His group is using it as a contact port," Captain Solo said. "And they also don't have a reason to lie about what the Imperials are doing. So let's name the damn leak Delta Source too." He stabbed the roasted bird portion before passing the larger serving dish.

Chewbacca's long arm taking a dish from Doncella Retrac obscured Lucinda's view of the rest of the table for a moment. She looked at Jedi Luke when the arm moved out of the way. He thought she could handle the truth. "The New Republic has a two-timer?"

"It looks that way," General Calrissian said before Jedi Luke answered.

Captain Solo peered puzzled at her. "How do you know what a two-timer is?"

"Smugglers tell stories," Luci explained. She liked this roasted bird; Doncella Retrac had gotten it for supper before everybody got back. She turned her plate so she could cut it easier.

"And who is telling you smuggler stories behind your mother's back?" Jedi Luke asked with a smirk.

"Ghent."

Captain Solo gave a snort. "He would."

Lucinda frowned. "Ghent only talks about two things: his slicing projects and smugglers. I can follow the smuggler stories, and he makes sure they're age appropriate." Ghent's innocence established, she moved back to the important part. "Why would someone in the New Republic want to two-time to the Empire?"

"We won't know that until we find out who it is," Doncella Retrac said.

"It really shouldn't be that hard." General Calrissian gestured with his drink glass. "I know you've been busy, Luke, but can't you use the Force to find a traitor?"

"I hope you're not suggesting I park myself in the Grand Corridor and read everyone's mind who passes by, because the ethical violations alone—"

"Just tell him 'that's not how the Force works,' Kid. Easier to remember."

Why did Captain Solo called Jedi Luke 'kid?' It wasn't respectful. But she left that alone to point out the flaw in the plan. "The two-timer wouldn't be there." She could feel the eyes of everyone at the table focus on her. Had she done something wrong pointing out the problem? Mommy always wanted her to notice problems.

"Why wouldn't the two-timer be there, Lucinda?" Jedi Luke looked curious.

"Because you're a Jedi; everybody knows you're a Jedi. They wouldn't want you to notice what they're doing."

"So they would save it for when you aren't on planet." Princess Leia looked across the table to Doncella Retrac.

"I do not believe that avenue has been investigated yet." Doncella Retrac glanced at Jedi Luke. "Can you give me a copy of your recent schedule and I'll start looking for patterns while you're away?"

"Sure, I'll tell Artoo to get you one before we go. That's a fantastic observation, Lucinda. Thank you."

That praise set off an inner glow that lasted throughout the supper, the males leaving, and her bedtime. Everything was quiet the next day. Lucinda finished her lessons and Artoo was helping her find an accurate documentary holodrama about the Clone Wars while they waited for Threepio to finish sorting the Princess' messages for better Binary lessons. Luci wanted to watch something on the Katana fleet, but Artoo had a point that it was still classified.

Artoo was still rejecting options when Princess Leia returned from today's meeting with the Inner Council. Doncella Retrac glided through the parlor space to meet her at the foyer. "If Han and I decide to have any more children, tell me to take a sabbatical for the next pregnancy." The Princess sounded frustrated and irritated, like a crew's prank just made more work for the people in charge.

Doncella Retrac tilted her head. "I will tell you, but I have no expectations that you will stop working." The Princess glared at her. "What happened?" Doncella Retrac asked.

"I'll tell you while we pack." The women disappeared into the master bedroom on the other side of the parlor from the HoloNet viewscreen. The door slid shut so Luci couldn't hear what they were talking about.

She looked at Artoo, who had stopped cycling through the holodrama choices. "Should I go pack too?"

He made the screen translate his warble. {Wait and find out. But no one else is scheduled to leave.}

"Schedules change." Mommy had thought she was going out to dinner to discuss business with Jedi Luke just last night.

The women emerged from the master bedroom, and Doncella Retrac was carrying a traveling duffel bag. Lucinda stood, dreading where she would end up now. "Should I go pack?"

The Princess smiled, but the reassurance didn't spread over her entire face. "No, you're staying here with Winter. I have to go with Captain Karrde to the Katana fleet, but he wanted to see you before we go."

"Okay." Maybe Captain Karrde had gotten a message from Mommy. She circled the furniture to take the Princess' outstretched hand.

Artoo detached himself from the HoloNet and rolled toward them. "Winter and Lucinda will be right back, Artoo," Princess Leia said. "You don't have to come."

The astromech made an emphatic blat that Lucinda had learned was a negative, but wasn't sure on the exact translation.

"Fine, have it your way."

The droid said nothing as the turbolift carried them to another docking pad, rather than an enclosed hangar bay. A group of Bothans stood away from the doorway, talking to each other in what sounded like their native language. Captain Karrde waited where he could watch the doorway, the Bothans, and the shuttle's entry ramp. Lucinda frowned at the orbital shuttle. "You're leaving the system in that?" It didn't have any laser cannons.

"No, we're traveling on the Quenfis. It's an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate in orbit. The shuttle just gets us on board," the Princess explained.

A capital ship sounded like a safer deal. Her stomach was starting on that falling cramp. She ignored it as Captain Karrde approached them. "Minister Organa Solo, Lucinda, is everything all right?" His shrewd blue eyes focused down on Luci.

"Worried about Mommy, I guess."

"Ah, she'll be back soon. Meanwhile, I have a job for you."

Lucinda frowned. "I thought I was too young to work for you."

Captain Karrde smirked. "This you already have experience in." He held out a datacard. "Ghent is coming here in a few days. These are his instructions. Make sure he gets them and shove food and water into him regularly while he works on them."

Lucinda smirked. She did know how to take care of Ghent. But she didn't take the card. "How much is it worth to you?"

Princess Leia smothered a laugh, but Captain Karrde beamed. "Very good. I called it a job. What's your starting bid?"

"A skyhopper!"

"So your mother can make me eat it, no. What about a personal piloting simulator?"

"Only if it's a model that can hold multiple programs for different ships. Because I'm going to master them quick."

"Deal."

She took the datacard from Captain Karrde and slipped it into her belt pouch.

A member of the New Republic military came up to their group. Lucinda supposed she should learn what uniforms meant what ranks if Captain Karrde was going to keep doing business with the New Republic. "Minister Organa Solo, Captain Karrde, we're ready for you to board." She took the duffel bag that Doncella Retrac passed to her.

"We'll be back soon, Lucinda." Princess Leia let go of her hand.

"I'll stick with Doncella Retrac." She took that woman's hand as they headed to the entry ramp where one of the Bothans was glaring at the pair of them. "He doesn't look friendly."

"We are aligned with the wrong people for Councilor Fey'lya to be friendly with us," Doncella Retrac said. "Let's go back to our quarters and I'll put in an alert for when this Ghent arrives."

Ghent arrived the next day in the Y-Wing Mommy had left in, but Mommy hadn't flown him back. Lucinda squeezed her disappointment into a tiny ball inside her chest and introduced Ghent to Doncella Retrac.

He took the datacard Captain Karrde had left with her and slid it into a datapad. "Mara said to tell you she's sorry, but she had to go with everybody else. She's coming as soon as that mission's over."

"I hope Captain Karrde is paying her extra for it." Lucinda tried not to scowl. Artoo beeped in sympathy and gave her a bump.

Ghent looked up from the file. "Okay, the Boss says you can acquire what I need, Doncella Retrac? He wants me to poke at a suspicious credit transfer to an Admiral Ackbar?"

Doncella Retrac's eyebrows climbed higher on her forehead. "And why does he want you to do that?"

"Says here that Jedi Skywalker commissioned it." Ghent waved the datapad slightly before looking down at Lucinda. "Jedi Skywalker knows who I am?"

Lucinda shrugged. "We talked about you on Myrkr. Mommy may have told him more when they rescued Captain Karrde."

Ghent looked rather dazed as he processed that. Doncella Retrac waved toward the turbolift corridor. "Let's find you a secure terminal to work on and access to the files in question." Lucinda grabbed Ghent's bag for him as their group left the hangar bay.

They ended up setting Ghent up in one of the other rooms in Princess Leia's office, where other visitors wouldn't distract him. The room and the equipment made Ghent happy, so she didn't bother pointing out how Ghent wouldn't notice any visitors. Besides, she had other details to set down. "When did you last eat, Ghent?"

He tapped on the terminal's keys to pull up an operating schematic and index. "I ate in hyperspace, a ration bar that tasted like pourstone."

"They aren't supposed to taste like that. Did you check the date on it?"

"I was researching something." He tucked some of his blue hair behind his ear as he leaned closer to the screen.

Lucinda scowled at his lack of attention. Mommy was right, one day that was going to get him blasted. "Captain Karrde made it my job to feed you. Doncella Retrac and I are eating again in four hours and you will eat then. Unless you'll be hungry earlier?"

"Four hours is fine, Luci. Now go, unless you want to know how to break apart a financial file." He waved a hand at her without looking from the screen that now filled with glowing letters that didn't form words.

"I have my own lessons. I don't need more." She stopped at the door and waved to Doncella Retrac to come out too.

The older woman followed her out, but looked over her shoulder as the door slid shut. "Does he know what he's doing?"

"With consoles and droids, yes." Lucinda headed to her seat next to Artoo. "I don't know about anything else. He'll fix the problem."

"I see," she answered.

Lucinda wasn't sure if Doncella Retrac really saw, but she had her own lessons and Artoo was rocking to get back to the Clone Wars. The astromech was on his two legs, tilting from side to side next to their table. She hurried to the chair.

Doncella Retrac was good at not laughing at Ghent, nor at Lucinda when she had to push his chair with him in it away from the console to get him to supper. Though the older woman found something she had to do in the outer corridor after supper in the suite still ready for Captain Karrde and Mommy to come back when Lucinda had to yell at the older man to go to bed.

"Really, Luci, I'm close! Imperial Intelligence hasn't changed their tactics in thirty years. It's insulting how obvious it is."

"Good, it'll be the same after you sleep and then you won't drool on your keyboard."

Ghent's face reddened. "There were extenuating circumstances when that happened!"

"I don't know what that means, but I saw you do it and I'm trying to make sure you don't do it in front of the New Republic!"

Artoo's electronic laugh started when Ghent stomped down the hall to the bedroom that no one had claimed. Doncella Retrac opened the main door to see him leave, coughed before calling out, "Good night, Master Ghent," and ushered Lucinda out of the quarters.

She wasn't wrong. The next morning Ghent solved the problem and Doncella Retrac called into the Princess' office a lot of strange people for Ghent to point out what he called 'the Imperial noseprints' all over the programming he had sliced. He did it patiently and only got overly technical with the woman who asked technical questions.

One human male in a military uniform lingered in the office lobby while the rest of the group marched out. "Excellent work, Targeter. I'll be sure to tell Admiral Ackbar how you cleared him."

Doncella Retrac dipped her chin. "Having the Admiral reinstated is thanks enough, Colonel. Have a good day." The white-haired woman looked thoughtful as quiet took over the office again. She turned and entered the room Ghent was using. Lucinda slid off her seat and followed.

"Master Ghent, what can you do with a pulse transmitters operating with cross-frequency, split-phase transmissions making it impossible to locate?"

Ghent's blue eyes blinked. "If you want it located, that's a tech problem. I'm no good with those. Are the transmissions encrypted?"

"They are."

"Then what I can do is slice into the transmissions and get the encrypt code. Eventually. Can't promise how long it'll take me. Slicing is a lot more complicated than people realize."

Doncella Retrac looked pleased and expectant. Luci jumped in with her suspicions. "Is this a second job for Ghent?"

"Yes, a secret job to stop our two-timer."

"He still has to get paid." Lucinda crossed her arms over her chest. Ghent had already turned back to the console and probably was looking for the pulse transmitter without a deal.

"Of course." Doncella Retrac nodded. "I'm prepared to extend the rates Captain Karrde negotiated for this new job."

"That's acceptable. Now my fee to continue minding him—"

Ghent snorted. "You can stop that fussing at any time."

"No, I can't. You'd starve. How about an X-Wing piloting program for my new stimulator?"

"I believe we have a deal, Miss Jade." They shook hands while Ghent groaned.

The week dragged by and she asked Artoo how far did they all have to go to get to the Katana fleet? Artoo told her it was still classified, and he didn't know. Ghent moved out of the Princess' office and worked from his quarters, so she and Doncella Retrac had to go there to make sure he at least ate. She was pretty sure he wasn't sleeping. Threepio was a big help with learning more Binary words and said she was learning quicker than Jedi Luke. They all fell into a routine and she was making steady progress in all her lessons. Would that make Mommy happy enough to pick an opera to go see? Luci hoped so. That list was too long for her to pick from.

She hadn't fallen asleep yet one night when Artoo detached his scomp link from the HoloNet and rolled out of her bedroom. Artoo hadn't left her except for the few hours Mommy had been on planet. She slid out of bed and followed.

Threepio's voice carried down the hall even though it wasn't amplified. "We weren't given any directives to alerting anyone, Artoo. It's rarely helpful to interrupt organics' sleep cycles. They get cross and take it out on us."

{Agreed, but she—} Artoo continued trilling, but Lucinda didn't recognize the rest.

"Yes, I have observed the same despite not ignoring my duties. But the child rearing sub-routine says the progeny need more rest than the adults."

Artoo whistled.

"Princess Leia is expecting twins. How will they cope with two if we don't upload a child rearing sub-routine? You should allocate some resources to one. Master Luke intends to be helpful and will need the advice of the sub-routine."

Artoo beeped questioningly.

"He has said he never had much experience with small children on Tatooine. You should pay attention to these things."

Artoo gave a blat.

"Yes, you have done well without a sub-routine, except for this snapped spring idea. Master Luke nor Princess Leia did not leave instructions to meet them upon their return."

Lucinda found the pair of droids in the dimly lit office. "Someone's back?"

Threepio jerked he turned to the door. "Oh Miss Lucinda, you should be asleep."

"But I'm not. Did the Quenfis make it back?"

Artoo whistled, and Threepio translated. "No, Liberty has arrived with the Wild Karrde and Artoo found both Master Luke and Trader Jade listed on the passenger manifest."

"Mommy's back! I'll go change."

"Oh dear, this is precisely what I worried about. We were not given instructions to wake you or meet them."

"But I always meet Mommy's ships. We won't get in trouble." She hurried back to her bedroom, tugged on her jumpsuit and boots, and slipped the datacard necklace over her head. She tucked it under her jumpsuit as she paused at the office door. "Come on, I want to see Mommy."

Artoo beeped agreeably and rolled to the door. Threepio shuffled after him. "Now, Miss Lucinda, if anyone official says you must go back to bed, please don't argue."

"I won't argue." She considered that her list of authorities probably didn't match Threepio's. Mommy was back on planet and she was back in charge.

Artoo guided the turbolift with his scomp link while Threepio worried. "I have a bad feeling about this. Are you sure Master Luke doesn't have orders to report somewhere else first?"

{No,} Artoo beeped.

The turbolift lobby they ended up in was busy as beings and droids left and arrived in the hangar bay. Lucinda moved inside, careful not to get in the way of personnel with the atmosphere shuttles. The man in black came into focus as he exited a shuttle. "There's Jedi Luke!" She ran, dodging around the taller people, and not caring if the droids kept up.

She didn't see Mommy with him, but he'd know where she was. "Jedi Luke!" He turned toward her, but she wrapped her arms around him, like on Myrkr.

Only a smaller hangar bay open to the black void of space replaced the busy one. She had a view down on the Wild Karrde's entry ramp from midway up the bulk freighter's height. Not quite on top of the freighter.

Humans and Mon Calamari rushed toward the ramp, pushing a bed on a repulsorlift and other equipment Lucinda didn't recognize. Something bulky was being pushed down the ramp. It reminded her of a snub-fighter's cockpit. Aves pushed it beside the strange bed before opening it.

It was a cockpit with a person still inside. The people with the repulsorlift bed reached into the cockpit and lifted the pilot out and onto the bed. One pulled off the flight helmet and tossed it over his shoulder.

And Lucinda saw hair the same color as her own.

"Mommy?" No one answered her. Another stranger got a breathing mask on Mommy's too pale face. Mommy was limp in the bed, not helping at all. Her stomach flipped like they were crashing again.

"Mommy!" No one turned or looked up as they attached more tubes and wires to her mother, so she screamed again. "Mommy!"

The repulsorlift bed was being pushed away from her, toward the door out of the hangar bay to the rest of the ship while Aves watched the group leave. She heard Jedi's Luke's voice coming from far away. "Comm Winter, tell her Lucinda's with me. We're going in here."

She wasn't going anywhere until Mommy answered her. "Mommy!"

The group of humans and Mon Calamari pushed the bed and all the equipment out all at once. Nobody looked up at her at all. Her throat tightened, clogging with the tears bursting from her. Why didn't anyone hear her? Why didn't anyone answer? "Mommy!"

Artoo whistled. "It's the Force," Jedi Luke said. "Come back, Luci. Follow my voice. It's alright."

The other hangar bay disappeared as she blinked her wet eyes. She was sitting on a cushioned seat. Her nose had gone stuffy, and she breathed through her mouth.

Jedi Luke knelt in front of her seat. His blue eyes were ringed with red like he had been crying too. "Lucinda," he said softly. "It's okay."

"They took Mommy away." Her voice sounded deep and scratchy. "Something was wrong and Mommy didn't move and Aves just let them take her. And nobody answered me!"

"You saw the medics take Mara?" Jedi Luke looked troubled.

"Those were medics?" Lucinda stared at him. He was telling the truth. "What happened to Mommy?" she whispered.

"General, sorry, Jedi Skywalker?" A Twi'lek male stopped behind Artoo in an aisle between rows of seats. They were on board one of the atmosphere shuttles.

"We'll be done in a moment." Jedi Luke and Artoo looked at him until he nodded and left. Then they both looked at her again. Jedi Luke rested his hand on the seat cushion next to her leg. "The Imperials attacked us at the Katana fleet."

Lucinda's heart pounded. "The Imperials?"

"Yes. Your mother was flying a Headhunter in the fight. She ejected in the lifepod, but an ion blast hit it and damaged her life support."

She grabbed the datacard necklace through her jumpsuit. "Is she—?"

Jedi Luke shook his head. "No, Luci. She's hurt bad and went straight to Liberty's medcenter, but she's still alive."

Lucinda sucked in a deeper breath and nodded to show that she heard. She loosened her fingers from the datacard. Mommy wasn't dead. She didn't need to look at the datacard.

He clasped her hand once it let go of her jumpsuit. "I'm sorry the Force showed that to you. It was probably scary."

She nodded. She couldn't forget Mommy lying so still.

He looked so sorry. "Do you want a hug?" he asked.

She launched herself at his neck and buried her wet face against his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her with just the right amount of squeeze. It was a wonderful hug. "Is Mommy on the ship still? Can I see her?"

"They took her to the medical wing of the Imperial Palace first thing, but we can go see her." He patted her back. "We'll go right now."

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